Walking After You
RATING: PG-13 It's clean, but you might want to cover your eyes from some
strong language (I dabble with the f-word a little).
SPOILERS: Carter was stabbed, Lucy's in med student heaven. I wrote
this before May Day, so his addiction wasn't a factor.
DISCLAIMER: And these characters are not mine, apart from the ones that
I have created. They belong to the big guys behind ER, and I am only
borrowing them for a short while. No characters were harmed during the
making of this story, no money was acquired, and anyway do you really
want to sue my pretty little arse? I didn't think so, so read on.
AUTHOR'S NOTES (if you have any):Ok, this is my first attempt at fan
fiction, I have no idea whether there will be more to come, it all
depends on what you think, and how lazy I am. It's not that great, because I'm
relatively new to the whole ER thing (began at Series 6, but I try to
catch all the re-runs), so if I get anything wrong about the characters
and any medical terms used, I take all the blame, and you can do with
me what you will. Itís continued in "Everyone's a Victim" It focuses on a new intern at the hospital, Amy Whitter. But I'm not sure if I explained the girl properly and some of my tenses are a little chaotic. But you wanna bare with me?
SUMMARY: The whole post-Lucy ordeal was really depressing me, so I
decided to give Carter something else to focus on for a change. A new med
student arrives, and Carter is assigned to her. For better or for worse. Enjoy.
If practice makes perfect and nobody is perfect, why practice? ~Billy Corgan
"You want to repeat that?" Randy asked the young red headed girl, trailing behind her like some lost puppy.
"It's Amy Whitter. I know I'm a little early, but I couldn't sleep. I can always go find some place to wait. No problem, " the girl said, anxiously peering up at all the faces, and places that passed her by.
"Who were you told to see?" Randy said, ignoring the girl's last comments.
"I've spoken to Kerry. Chief-"
" Resident Of Emergency Medicine. Yeah, I know, but who is going to be your supervisor?" Randy paused at a doorway, glanced through the window, and turned to face the girl. Whitter, wasn't it? "Ok, Amy, you're the latest member to join our emergency team. I'm sure your supervisor-"
"I'm pretty sure his name's Carter," she said trying to get a word in edgeways.
"Well he'll be -" She paused looking at her as though she had grown an extra head. "Your interning with Carter? John Carter?" The girl nodded. "Wonders will never cease." A half smile plays on her lips. "Good luck," she told the girl entering the room.
The girl called her back. "So where can I find this Carter person?"
Randy smiled, turning to face the tall guy in a lab coat standing next to her. He was examining an old gentleman, who was hunched over on the bedside. He was probing the man's chart, and did not even acknowledge her existence. "Carter?"
He now looked up, scanning the head connected to his name. "Sorry. Are you a relation to the patient? Grand-daughter perhaps?"
She shook her head. "No, no, I'm Amy Whitter."
He stared hard at her for a second. Randy's smile increasing. "...Amy Whitter? Amy Whitter?"
"Kerry told me that you were going to be my supervising resident," she told him a little put out. Oh yeah, great way to welcome a girl to work. Forget she's going to come.
"Ah your my new intern." He stretched out his hand, "Didn't Kerry say something about 7am?"
She smiled, " I couldn't sleep. I can come back in an hour, if this isn't Ok with you though, no problems."
"You want to start now?" Carter looked back at his patient, ignoring Randy's smirk. "Sure, why don't we get you your coat, I'll introduce you to a few of your fellow doctors, and we can get started. Haleh, you want to get Corday to take Mr. Fisher up to surgery?" The nurse nodded at Carter, reaching for her pager. Carter smiled, and led the girl out of the room.
"So any area in particular you interested in?" Carter asked the girl, as he led her up to the lounge.
"Well, I was interested in surgery. That was what I was basing my degree on, but my supervisors weren't too impressed by my constant need to make sure the patient was doing Ok. They thought I cared just a little too much. So they recommended I do trauma." He inspected her curiously. Kerry had obviously been aware of the acute comparison between his situation and her own, being the crafty devil she was. "So here I am in one of the largest emergency departments in the country. Intimidating is not the word."
He smiled, warmly. "You're going to have a ball."
"I take it you can handle an IV right? Because I have had previous trouble from interns who couldn't." he said smiling at his eager student.
She smiled, "IV's are my specialty."
"Great. Then this patient is all yours," he told her leaving. "If you need any assistance, just ask OK?"
Amy nodded enthusiastically, "Sure thing."
Amy wasn't doing too bad, yet he couldn't help but feel strange around her. She was Lucy's replacement, and he was uncomfortable about that. All she ever seemed to do was remind him of the one thing that he was trying to forget.
Ok, this is good, Amy thought. She had seen some patients today, was getting to know a few of her colleagues. Everybody appeared pretty pleasant and she had survived the night without killing anyone. Major plus. She hadn't misdiagnosed, or had her supervisors telling her that what she thought was a throat infection was in fact extensive lung cancer. So all in all, she seemed to be handling things pretty well. Well, she was chuffed at still retaining some semblance of humanity after a week of night shifts.
She was busy writing down a report for the patient that she had just seen, when Carter approached her. She'd kept him monitored on all her patients throughout the day, and although being just a little distracted from just about everything that she informed him, he seemed to be content enough with her work. "You hear about that trauma coming in on the helicopter?"
"Well, yeah, a little bit," she responded.
"You're running it. Get ready."
She looked back with big eyes, suddenly numb to everything but her ringing ears. "Don't worry, you're not going to be alone."
The kid came in about ten minutes later. She helped wheel the stretcher into the room, transfer the patient to the bed, and started reciting the trauma mantra to herself. Airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure. The kid was talking, so she knew the airway was okay, at least for the moment. She went to listen to breathing sounds, checking several times back and forth to make sure they were equal, and the next thing she knew Carter was running things. She immediately dropped back into the role she'd become accustomed to in medical school: Get monitors connected, make sure lines were running, report what you see, listen for orders. Within several minutes they knew the score, and the kid was in the pipe for definitive management.
"I'm sorry I took it away from you," Carter told her afterwards.
"No, no - it's okay," she said, meaning it completely. Apparently he had been asking her what was going on, if breath sounds were equal, and she simply hadn't heard the questions, intent as she was on making sure she didn't mess up. It was not so much that she froze up as became autistic, trapped in her own nervous little world.
She knew what she needed to do, and how to do it. As a bonus, the child wasn't hurt too badly, but there's really no way they could have known that until the initial evaluation was complete. Even so, she dropped the ball. She wasn't happy about it; and what's worse is that she felt like she had let Carter down. The child was never in any danger of suffering from her incompetence because she had backup. Carter had given her a vote of confidence though, and she didn't do too well. She didn't like that at all.
She eyed Carter anxiously hoping that he would be pleased with her work. She'd managed to stabilize her patient to a healthy 80-pulse rate with a constant blood pressure, and her bloods toxicity levels were also returning to normal. He smiled as she told him this.
"Great. Good work Amy," he gave her a pat on the shoulder, and turned to face the nurse. "Take her up to the ICU."
Oh yeah nice one Amy, she thought, you just saved this girl's life, all by yourself. So nice one Amy. Have a cookie.
She watched the sixteen-year-old girl getting wheeled up to the ICU. The girl was unconscious but alive, and responding to treatment.
Carter's pager went off and he picked it up and turned to leave.
She called out his name and he turned to face her. "Would it be OK if I were to tag along?"
"Sure," he replied on his way out. "Collapsed lung in trauma two."
She checked which room her patient was heading for and then followed Carter. She arrived after the patient had coded and CPR was being administered. She watched intrigued. Carter had not noticed that she was there, and everyone else was too involved, so she didn't say or ask anything. She wanted to help, but it took a while before her medical training surfaced. By then the patient had been stabilized, and the other doctors were preparing to take him up to surgery.
"Maybe next time kid," he told her as he left. It was obviously rhetorical, as he didn't wait for a reply. Great I get stuck with the moody one, she thought on the way to the cafeteria.
Maybe I should mention something, she thought in frustration. Mention the fact that I have no idea where everything is, who everyone is and just where exactly the ICU is.
Kid. He also called her a kid.
"Morphine, I want some of that shit man, get me some morphine," The guy reached out a hand to the table that Dave was working from.
Dave pushed his hand back, "No, we're only going to be stitching your hand up, you don't need any morphine." But I could sure do for some, Dave thought. "Now hold still, or this really will hurt."
"No morphine? I get my hand jammed up a machine, and I don't get none of your painkilling shit? What kinda fucked up place is this?"
Dave remained silent, and calm. This guy has been in an accident, he was just a little nervous, he was not going to get any morphine, and he was not going to attack him. "Hold still," Dave repeated through gritted teeth, almost losing his focus on the stitching at hand. "I'm telling you this really will kill if you don't."
Amy returned clutching a cup of coffee, a notebook, and the patients case notes. "Your very lucky, Mr. Mohr, there is no fracture and no breakage, which means that once Dave finishes stitching you up, you should be as good as new."
"If he finishes stitching," Dave muttered beneath his breath, again having to restrain the patient's hand movements.
Mr. Mohr eyed Amy crudely, " You mean I'm in agony, and nothing ain't broke?"
Amy stood on the other side of the patient. "I'm sure you are, but that has more to do with the tear in your arm, rather than any serious damage. Although I wouldn't recommend any more painkillers as they are unnecessary and will keep the wound open for longer than healthy."
Mr. Mohr scowled, "I'm here, my arm all fucked up, and I get jack-shit, how's that for patient fucking well-being. Well I'm gonna sue the guys that did this to me, and don't think I'm gonna forget about you guys, leaving me in agony, fucking agony, and doing jack shit, yeah don't be thinking I'll forget you guys," He told them, aggressively raising his hand at Amy. She backed off.
"Now HOLD still goddamit," Dave told him, the patients griping getting on his nerves.
Mr. Mohr screamed, this time in real pain, as the movement had jogged Dave's handiwork, meaning that he had placed a wrong stitch. His arm flailed out, making solid contact with Amy's face. She fell against the medical supplies behind her, the hot coffee in her hand spilling its contents all over her chest, and she yelped with pain.
Dave dropped his equipment, and rushed over to Amy. She sat beneath the cabinet, underneath supplies of painkillers and suture equipment. Mark took that second to reply to Dave's plea for assistance.
"Hey, what happened in here? Dave? Amy?" he asked scanning across from the patient to a sore looking Amy. He hurried over to help Amy up, and to see whether or not she was hurt.
"It's nothing, really," Amy told them, a little shaken. She began wiping at the hot coffee that was scalding her arms.
Mark and Dave gave her concerned looks. "Pretty nasty first degree burns there. That cheek could also do with a look-in," Dave said supporting her, as she rose to her feet
"What exactly happened? Did the patient attack her?" Mark asked, lowering his voice so that said patient could not hear.
"I gave him a wrong stitch and the guy jerked his arm away, hitting Amy square on the face."
Mr. Mohr eyed the group of doctors suspiciously," Docs, it weren't my fault. That guy fucking dug a pin in my arm. What d'you expect me to do? She ain't hurt or nothin' is she? I didn't touch her, man. I swear. Girl, you OK? I swear I didn't touch her."
They ignored the patient's protests of innocence. "I'll be fine, really," Amy said, walking away from the Exam room. If there's one way to show you can handle a patient it's to let him hit you across the face, she thought to herself. She turned to face their anxious faces, and smiled, "I'll get myself checked out by one of the nurses, and then I'll go find some sick person to make better, OK?"
Dave sat on one of the cabinets next to the board, Carter stood next to him, wiping his patient off with a scowl etched across his face. "The patient was behaving unreasonably, you should have ordered restraints."
Dave sighed; shaking his head, "Ok, so he was using colourful adjectives-he'd just had his hand jammed up a machine-" he looked at Carter pointedly "-Hey I'm not saying that it couldn't have been prevented. I'm just saying that-"
"I can't supervise all the time," Carter put in. "You should have called me if you were having problems."
Dave hated how Carter could use a cool tone, no matter how patronizing he was being. "There was no need Carter."
Carter pulled a face. "Is that why Amy is in exam room 2 getting checked out by the nurses? You really have to learn to be responsible for yourself and co-workers. We rely on it."
Dave groaned. "I'll admit that I could have done something more productive than telling him to shut up, but that's the way it goes. Accidents do happen."
"Not if I can help it," Carter told him walking away.
Dave sneered at his back. The guy could be such an arrogant prick sometimes.
"She took three or four hundred milligrams of anafranil, eleven half-milligram klonopins, sixty twenty-milligram ritalins and eleven belladonna pills. I assumed that it was too low to be lethal." she told Carter, her voice wavering as doctors, nurses, and people who could offer assistance surrounded her patient. This did not include her.
"Who told you this?" Carter asked her attempting to remain calm as he spoke, but his harsh tone being evident to his pupil. He was handed an intubation tray, and the nurses told him what his blood pressure was, and he reeled out the required medication.
"Ms. Jackson. That was the first thing I asked her." She said, staring intensely at all the people that were doing what she had failed.
"So you didn't give her an EKG, or a urine tox screen?" Carter replied dismally.
She shook her head, slowly. Carter groaned. "Amy, what is the first thing that we learn about overdose patients? They are suicidal, the last thing they want to do is assist in their recovery."
Oh, hell, she thought, I am an idiot. Rule number one is Patients Lie. Always and anywhere, you must remember that rule. Context was irrelevant. She'd been chanting it daily for three years, quoting it to her colleagues at every chance she got. It was perverse and cynical, but completely true nevertheless.
So here she was, treating a patient who had a poly-drug ingestion in what was at the very least a suicidal gesture, and she was crediting everything she said as gospel. Bright move.
She fumbled around for some words to explain herself, and admit that she had given her 50g of charcoal and that it was the most stupid thing that she had done thus far in her career as a Doctor. And that, yes, she was an arsehole for not having properly briefed any of her superiors.
But from the cold glance he shot her as he was working on the patient, she knew that she had no explanation.
"Carter didn't really mean that did he?" Abby asked Kerry a little dumbfounded. She picked up another chart, scanning through the triage at the bottom.
Kerry gave her a 'you know how it is' look. "Well he just feels that she's giving him stress that he just doesn't need at this point in his life."
Abby laughed. "Was he really that great an intern that he can be so arrogant now?"
Kerry smiled, "He can't help being arrogant, he's a good doctor. Not necessarily the greatest teacher I must say, but I think that if that's what Carter wants it will be best for the both of them."
She pretended to be knee deep in some patient's notes, as they passed her by. She watched them head off down into the exam rooms. Am I that bad, she asked herself in frustration? Carter doesn't want to have to baby-sit the little redhead who is desperately trying to be as good as he is. Go figure.